Magofna says reconciling ARPA accounts ‘quite complex’


Sen. Corina L. Magofna (Ind-Saipan), who chairs the Senate Committee on Resources, Economic Development, Programs and Gaming, said that reconciling the American Rescue Plan Act accounts is quite complex as there’s a lot of transactions with multiple accounts.

In an interview with reporters at the Adopt-A-Place event at the Commissioner Joaquin S. Tudela Community Park in San Vicente last Sunday, Magofna said it’s taking the team a little bit longer than expected to just review the ARPA accounts and reconcile them. That team is the Department of Finance and Office of Management and Budget Strategy Group that Gov. Arnold I. Palacios has just created. It is composed of representatives from Finance, OMB, and the Legislature in conducting a comprehensive review of the government’s financial records, reconciliation, and identification of containment measures that will be implemented to sustain government operations.

Palacios and Lt. Gov. David M. Apatang had discussed at a recent news briefing the CNMI’s state of fiscal affairs and the steps the administration is taking to address the matter.

The 2022 transition report on the Department of Finance noted that a preliminary reconciliation determined that the CNMI received $481.8 million in ARPA funds, but as of Dec. 27, 2022, it has overspent and has a deficit of $86 million.

Corina L. Magofna

ARPA was used to fund disaster-related expenditures pending reimbursements from federal government, amounting to approximately $48.7 million. Upon reimbursements, the ARPA deficit will be reduced to $37.4 million, the transition report states.

Magofna said they aim to have the recommendations by the end of this month, if not next month. The senator said they are planning to do a revised budget for fiscal year 2023 so it’s crucial that ARPA reconciliation is done.

Magofna said she is aware that the Palacios-Apatang administration is depending on the team to complete their findings and make sound recommendations that, hopefully, can minimize the deficit’s impact on the CNMI’s economy and the people.

She said the Finance team is working diligently, putting in a lot of time and effort so that the Legislature can do its part in revising the budget. Magofna said they want to make sure that they have a balanced budget based on their findings, and want to be thorough as possible so they will not get inaccurate information.

She said they meet weekly with the governor’s team on a Friday. Between that Friday meetings, Magofna said there are also in-between meetings with the Senate and the House, or the Senate and the Finance team. “So we’re constantly working. Even without the weekly meetings, we’re just to kind of get updates from the Finance team and then with the Legislature,” she said.

Magofna said they want to try and get this done as soon as possible.

“I know there’s a lot of concerns out there. People are curious of what’s been going on and it’s our responsibility to get those things done. So we’re doing our best,” she said.

Magofna has a bachelor’s degree in Business Accounting from the University of Phoenix and an associate degree in Accounting from the University of Hawaii.

Ferdie De La Torre | Reporter
Ferdie Ponce de la Torre is a senior reporter of Saipan Tribune. He has a bachelor’s degree in journalism and has covered all news beats in the CNMI. He is a recipient of the CNMI Supreme Court Justice Award. Contact him at
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